The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has completed the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification and released the new logo that will delineate Ultra HD Blu-ray products. Manufacturers will be able to license Ultra HD Blu-Ray beginning in July and, presumably, consumer products will begin to roll out later in the year.
"For years, Blu-ray Disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment," said Victor Matsuda, chair, BDA Promotions Committee. "The technical capabilities of Blu-ray Disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience."
The completed Ultra HD Blu-ray specification addresses a range of factors, beyond simply increasing resolution to up-to 3840x2160 ixels. The new format enables delivery of a significantly expanded color range and allows for the delivery of high dynamic range (HDR) and high frame rate content. Next-generation, object-based sound formats will also be delivered via the Ultra HD Blu-ray specification. Additionally, with the optional digital bridge feature, the specification enhances the value of content ownership by embracing the notion that a content purchase can enable the consumer to view their content across the range of in-home and mobile devices.
The specification also mandates all new Ultra HD Blu-ray players be capable of playing back current Blu-ray Discs.
Licensing of Ultra HD Blu-ray is scheduled to begin this Summer. The BDA is working with industry players in the authoring, testing, certification and replication industries to develop the tools and process needed to ensure interoperability between players and software and to facilitate the development of an ecosystem to support the hardware and title launch of Ultra HD Blu-ray.
If you already have a 4K TV, you might not be able to play these new discs. Your TV will have to have HDMI 2.0 (with HDCP 2.2).
The TV will have to be HDR and Expanded Color compatible to do anything with that additional picture info (and HDMI 2.0a).
BDA revealed that the developing Blu-ray spec was nearing completion at January’s CES Show. At that time, Panasonic was the first manufacturer to announce plans to release an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
Samsung Electronics also plans to launch a Blu-ray player by the end of the year that supports ultra HD (UHD) resolution.